Trump, Haley, who else? The Republicans who could run for president in 2024
Florida’s Ron DeSantis, South Dakota’s Kristi Noem and South Carolina’s Tim Scott are among those mulling bids for the White House.
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, is reportedly planning to announce that she’s running for president later this month. And while the 2024 election is over a year and a half away, the list of Republican challengers for the White House is expected to grow further in the coming weeks.
The biggest name in the Republican Party — former President Donald Trump — officially entered the race last fall. Since then, however, the early GOP frontrunner has held only a handful of campaign events.
While Trump jumped in early, the February before a presidential election year is typically when candidates start announcing their intentions. Barack Obama announced his candidacy in February 2007. Joe Biden waited until April 2019, but the second- and third-place Democratic finishers in numbers of delegates, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, announced their candidacies in February.
Trying to project this far out how a primary campaign might go is all but impossible. For example, a February 2015 Washington Post ranking of the contenders for the following year’s Republican nomination included 10 names but made no mention of the reality TV show host who would go on to win the presidency.
And while there will almost certainly be people who enter the primary other than the ones listed below, here are some of the bigger names who are thought to be at least considering a bid.
The 45th president of the United States is looking to become the second person in history to serve nonconsecutive terms in the White House. (The only person who has pulled off that feat, Democrat Grover Cleveland, lost the presidency after the 1892 election but won it back in 1896.)
Trump officially announced his 2024 campaign in November but never really left the trail after leaving office, continuing to tout the baseless conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Some Republicans blamed their disappointing showing in last year’s midterm elections on Trump, but he still maintains a lead in name recognition and enjoys the adoration of many GOP primary voters. In the last month, he visited the early primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina and regained access to Facebook and Twitter, platforms that aided his 2016 victory.
Although she hasn’t made a splash in early polling for the nomination, Haley is a former governor of South Carolina, an early primary state, which could work to her advantage. She also appeared to have left the Trump administration on good terms, although she has criticized her old boss some since then.
Haley, 51, said on Twitter last week that it’s “time for a new generation to lead” — an implicit shot at both the 76-year-old Trump and President Biden, who turned 80 in November.
The conservative intelligentsia’s preferred alternative to Trump, the Florida governor easily won reelection to a second term in November. The former congressman and staunch Trump supporter — one of his 2018 gubernatorial ads showed him reading “The Art of the Deal” to his son — has spent his time in office implementing conservative policies (although not all of them have stood up to judicial scrutiny) while becoming a culture-war lightning rod.
While Trump received blame for the 2020 midterm losses, DeSantis also backed a number of losing candidates and was one of the only prominent Republicans to campaign with Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, who lost by double digits in November.
The former vice president checked off major pieces of the typical White House run checklist last year, releasing a book and traveling the country to speak at various GOP events. When asked about announcing a presidential run last month by CBS News, Pence said, "I think we've got time.”
Although the battle over abortion policy has tended to go Democrats’ way in elections since Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, Pence has been highlighting his strict opposition to the procedure.
The former vice president, however, will likely have to explain to Republican primary voters once again why he didn’t go along with Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. When radical Trump supporters ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, some of them infamously chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.”
After serving as both CIA director and secretary of state under Trump, Pompeo recently released a memoir that was critical of, among others, Nikki Haley. (“It’s really sad when you’re having to go out there and put [forth] lies and gossip to sell a book,” Haley said in response.)
A West Point graduate and former Kansas congressman, Pompeo was a highly visible member of the Trump administration but has yet to prove that he has a grassroots following of his own. He may also have to answer for his past praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, while his tenure as CIA chief might turn off Republicans who are suspicious of the agency.
The former Maryland governor was the popular chief executive of a heavily Democratic state for eight years until he left office earlier this month. But he may have positioned himself as too much of a moderate to win a GOP presidential primary.
In his farewell address, Hogan laid out what his core message in a White House run might be: “Toxic politics will not restore America. Only real leadership will do that.”
Another Republican governor who just left office, Hutchinson could also position himself as a relative moderate who is still to the right of someone like Hogan. While discussing Trump on CNN last year, he said, “I think he did a lot of good things for our country, but we need to go a different direction.”
Before his election to the Arkansas governorship in 2015, Hutchinson held high-ranking roles in President George W. Bush’s administration.
The New Hampshire governor easily won reelection in November even as other Republican candidates in the state crashed and burned. He says he’s still making his mind up on whether to run, but his popularity in the early primary state could make him a real contender for the nomination — so long as he proves he has appeal elsewhere.
The South Dakota governor was one of Trump’s staunchest supporters during his first term, even gifting him a bust of Mount Rushmore that included his face. She declined to rule out a presidential run last summer, and in the aftermath of November’s midterms — in which she won reelection — Noem told the New York Times that she didn’t believe Trump offered the party the “best chance” at victory. She said recently, however, that “I’m not convinced that I need to run for president.”
The former New Jersey governor ran for president in 2016, and while his campaign struggled from the outset, he did have a memorable debate moment when he eviscerated Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in the lead-up to the New Hampshire primary.
Christie dropped out of the race shortly after that and was the first governor to endorse Trump. After leaving office, he joined ABC News and helped Trump prepare to debate Biden. Christie has since pivoted, saying Sunday that Trump “can’t win a general election.”
The junior senator from South Carolina cruised to an easy reelection in November and has proved himself one of the GOP’s most prolific fundraisers. He’s also seen as a popular figure among Republican lawmakers.
The only Black Republican in the Senate is set to head to Iowa later this month to speak at the Polk County Republican Party's Lincoln Dinner, a major event in the early caucus state.
In the aftermath of Jan. 6, 2021, the Wyoming congresswoman emerged as one of the loudest anti-Trump voices in the party, co-chairing the committee that investigated the insurrection. In September, Cheney said, “I’m going to make sure Donald Trump ... is not the nominee. And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican.”
Having lost her GOP primary last year by nearly 60 points, however, it’s unclear what path she might have to the Republican nomination.